Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

22 May 2009

I didn't watch WKRP but I do remember when broadcasting was fun

Every old radio nut in my industry tells stories about WKRP like they worked there. "Remember when Johnny Fever locked me in the bathroom stall?". I may be the only radio guy (over 30) around who didn't watch the blessed show... but I did have a "Remember good ole days?" moment this morning.

I always say that I fell ass-backwards into broadcasting. It all started one drunken high school evening (as many stories do). I was watching one of my favorite unintentionally funny shows on Rogers Cable Brantford called "Barbershop Talk". It was an actual barber... on a barbershop set... with people in barber chairs... shooting the breeze about day to day jibber jabber. "Fantastic", Al would finish every thought with. Genius. I decided to call the show one night and do some of my voice impressions on the air. Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, George Bush Sr... my standard routine. He liked it and I became a regular on the show as a "High School Comedian". Why did they call me that? Cus that's what I told them I was. And so it was.

It was a blast. I was on the Christmas Parade Float!

From that, they gave me my own half hour comedy talk-show called "The Dave Carrol Show". I broke copywrite laws (
which, as it turns out, is a frustrating thing for a high school punk to do for a producer), walked around half naked in the mall, convinced my friend to wear boxer shorts (nearly exposing himself) while doing a craft... it was gold. One day I was at the Brantford Smoke hockey game, and a man came up to me with a bleeding EYE! He had shut a car door on his eye and came looking for Kleenex. But ended up saying... "Hey! You're Dave Carrol! Awesome!"

Awesome indeed. That was a blast.

I went to Niagara College (
which I highly recommend) and learned the trade... or whatever this thing I do is. I disciplined myself to make it through newscasts while having a pressed ham on the glass in front of me. I covered an event where I got to hang with, and interview, Johnny Bower, Gump Worsley, Glen Hall... peed at a urinal beside Polka King Walt Ostenack, and had my camera guy catch an extremely intoxicated Eddie Shack in mid-fall down a winding staircase. This morning I also remembered the day in 1998 where I was on-air in "The Fishbowl" when a buddy rushed into my booth with a fresh off the presses new Van Halen single from the Ill-fated Gary Charone album... to play... right then and there. He wrote me this morning saying, " I still play the tape on the radio in my garage some days... ahh college."

Those were good times... having fun doing radio.

I got to host a coast-to-coast, all-night TV call in show on CTS. It was fantastic fun to sit with my brother and field questions like,
"How do I make myrrh so I can bathe in it like Queen Esther?". My friend Sam was our call-screener (or "The Screenenator" as our luminous flaming graphic showed) and routinely put the most colorful calls to the top of our list. On my brother's final show... I rammed a Boston Cream Donut into his face. Our fantastic director Ed, gave Rick a close-up just in time to capture a chunk of dough being propelled from his nostril.

Those were good days...
even better when the VP of Crossroads saw it at my brother's pastoral farewell

I got to help start a Christian radio station in Brantford from the ground up. That meant doing 8 jobs for the salary of one high school Blockbuster employee. But it was a blast. I sang my own intro to my morning show (
which was followed by my newscast... and the ads written and read by me). I would routinely have character conversations with myself on the air. Often as Mr Gus Mcgillicutty who was a janitor from the deep south who just loved to go "sweepin de gym".

Wild cat... freestyle... multi task... fun radio.

Truthfully... Broadcasting is not what I "Love". It's just been my vocation for some number of years. I could give or take it honestly. But for many years, broadcasting was fun. Things have changed in this industry. I'll risk sounding like a grumpy old fart here... but it's not the same as it used to be. Economics and Short-sighted thinkers have turned something that has long had the "COOL" factor into... not.

I don't think it has to stay that way. And I do think there is a way to make money... and still give room for legit personality and fun. Mediums will change, as will cultures of communication. Neither of these are the things we should fight to maintain control of... change or die. But I do think that broadcasters should think past the surface levels when remembering WHY they listened to the radio in their bedroom as a kid. It's about more than music.

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Patti said...

Verrry entertaining post!

You didn't watch WKRP???!!!


Even I watched WKRP, and my family didn't own a TV for years!

Remember when Herb Tarlik thought turkeys could fly...? Oh. No you don't. But it was funny!

Dave Carrol said...

Thanks Patti... it was fun remembering! And I FEEL like I've seen every episode haha...

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